I’ve always appreciated good workmanship. Whether it’s with maple, metal, or music, there’s something glorious about intentional effort combined with honed skill.
This appreciation carries over into language. Well-written books, thought-provoking sermons as well as clever puns garner my admiration. There’s nothing haphazard about carefully arranging words, phrases, and thoughts to create something worthy of our attention.
The ability of humans to use our minds, bodies, and souls to produce creations that bless others is part of God’s image that we bear. God is the original craftsman. Everywhere we look in the natural world we see His incredible craftsmanship and creativity.
Paul also recognized God’s expertise within us for He writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Paul was not just speaking about the physical design of our bodies, but about how God fashions our souls and personalities to do good deeds that glorify Him.
The Greek word that Paul uses for workmanship is poiema which means something made. But the English word “poem” also comes from this word and helps us understand more of Paul’s insight.
Poetry is a genre of writing in which words are chosen very thoughtfully. To transmit ideas, feelings, and insights, poets construct their creations with the same purpose, intent, and focus as a woodworker or sculptor. Word order as well as meter and rhythm are also conscious decisions made by poets.
This can help us understand God’s work in our lives arranging our strengths and weaknesses, desires and passions, and limitations and opportunities. He exposes us to individuals and situations that develop us and bring out traits that will exhibit His created beauty within.
Just as letters are arranged to make words and words are arranged to make sentences and sentences are arranged to create rhyming couplets to transmit meaning and emotion, God arranges every aspect of our lives into days, weeks, months and years. He also arranges us with other believers in His Church that together we might transmit His message of grace and truth.
And just as some poems are quite lengthy, God not only arranges our paragraphs and chapters into complete lifetimes, He even arranges multiple lifetimes over thousands of years to create epics that display phenomenal craftsmanship and meaning.
In God’s greatest epic written through the eons of history, He masterfully reveals Himself and His grace for every person with the overarching themes of love and peace. It remains for us to put ourselves at His disposal. We must allow Him to place and use us, as a letter in a word or a word in a sentence, to bring maximum glory to Him and blessing to others.
As we do so, may we ponder how we can best display God’s workmanship by doing our own good works. And then do them that we might be a beautiful couplet in God’s great poem.
George Bowers – CBC Executive Board member